What Food Items Can you Bring into the US ? Sample custom forms and Prohibited items at port of entry

by Kumar · 10 comments

Someone posted a comment “Can we take eatables, sweets and cigarettes to US ?”

The answer is Yes and No. It depends !   When you are in flight coming to US, you are handed in customs forms to declare what you have got and how much worth they are. Have a look at the

Sample US Customs Declaration form. It is very key to consider what you write in there. On paper by rules, US prohibits bringing lot of items. Here is a list of Prohibited and restricted items at Port of Entry. Ideally, they can reject any stuff you get.  Of the list you asked, you can get definitely get cigarettes.  Sweets and eatables are very vague, if they do not check your bag, your are fine. But, just in case they end up checking, they might throw them away. The high level logic is, any items that have moisture in them have possibility of Fungus or other bacteria. It could be spread in US, that’s why they dictate the rules.   Here is the key, as long as they DO NOT Check your bags at port of entry or customs check point, you are through. Most of the people come through, but if your time is bad, they can throw it out.  Be careful on what you declare on theUS Customs form.

Overall, many people get eatables, pickles, sweet, etc. packed very well in polythene bags. The food items get through customs as long as no one asks you to open bags for checking. Most likely you may too pass through customs. But, if they end up checking your bag, they have every right to throw anything off your bag. You should not be disappointed.

Here is another related article about full list of articles that are cheaper in US and what you should carry Vs and what you should not with reasons…

Also, you may watch the  US Port of Entry Procedures  2 min video by US Dept of Homeland Security.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

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Ankit July 21, 2010 at 3:06 am

what about pickles??

do we have to declare them too by checking the “Food” box??


Kumar July 21, 2010 at 8:49 am

Well, most of the people do not declare it…because they may take it away…. As long as it is sealed well, you should be good.


Ankit July 22, 2010 at 2:16 am

Thanks Kumar


Vipin March 18, 2013 at 10:06 am

My friends declared in customs form he is not carrying food. however when asked at customs check he said he is only carrying rice n daal. Official said not lalowed and removed. They swapped passpord and mentioned note incorrect custom declaration however when asked told what all food he has. My fren wants to know if this note would create any issues in any future US visas?


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